Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences


Political Science

Committee Chair

Robert DiClerico

Committee Co-Chair

Jeff Worsham.


Richard Neustadt (1960) started a revolution of sorts for future scholars examining the American presidency. It was Neustadt who introduced the notion of a personal president, holding personal power and acting in ways that had implications beyond those powers formally granted to the president in the Constitution. Starting with the presidency of Franklin Roosevelt, the public has looked to the president to be assertive, energetic, and solve problems. Roosevelt offered a New Deal with the American people, and was the first president to really reach into the homes of America. Now the presidency is a public presidency, subjected to very high expectations without the benefit of a similar amount of power. Presidents following Roosevelt would not only have the opportunity to advance a policy agenda, but in reality the advancement of a policy agenda would become more of an expectation. As such, the formation of an agenda has become an increasingly important part of the president's job.;The focus of the dissertation will be to gain a better understanding of the construction of the president's agenda, how the president's agenda relates to that of Congress and the media, and finally, whether or not the power to set the agenda has an impact on a broader mobilization of interests in the American political system. The findings demonstrate that presidential attention to American political issue areas both responds to and shapes the political environment, and as such is a critical component of presidential power.